Business software is a set of computer programs that are used by business users to perform various functions. These business applications are used for accounting, marketing, managing sales and ciustomer service and operate right across the operation.
Some business applications are interactive, i.e., they have a graphical user interface or user interface and user can query / modify / input data and view results instantaneously. They can also run reports instantaneously. Others run in batch mode i.e. they are set up to run based on a predetermined event / time and the user does not need to initiate them or monitor them.
Some business applications are built in-house and some are bought from vendors (off the shelf software products). These business applications either are installed on desktops or on big servers and include:
- Enterprise application software (EAS)
- Resource Management
- Digital dashboards - Also known as business intelligence dashboards, enterprise dashboards, or executive dashboards, these are visually based summaries of business data that show at-a-glance understanding of conditions through metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Online analytical processing, commonly known as OLAP (including HOLAP, ROLAP and MOLAP) - a capability of some management, decision support, and executive information systems that supports interactive examination of large amounts of data from many perspectives.
- Reporting software generates aggregated views of data to keep the management informed about the state of their business.
- Data mining - extraction of consumer information from a database by utilizing software that can isolate and identify previously unknown patterns or trends in large amounts of data. There are a variety of data mining techniques that reveal different types of patterns. Some of the techniques that belong here are statistical methods (particularly business statistics) and neural networks as very advanced means of analysing data.
- Business performance management (BPM)
- Document management - made for organizing and management of multiple documents of various types.
- Employee scheduling software- used for creating and distributing employee schedules, as well as tracking employee hours.
Businesses are fundamentally about money: making money, managing money, and paying money to employees or other businesses. Every business — even those “billion dollar” startups that don’t make a cent — needs to stay on top of its finances. Back in the day, actual humans using actual pieces of paper took care of accounting, payroll, benefit enrollment, expenses, reporting, and all the other nitty-gritty, tedious, yet critical elements of running a business.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is changing how businesses of all sizes manage their finances. There is a huge trend toward the integration of cloud services into business services and enterprise adoption of cloud services beyond basic things. We are entering an era of ‘outservicing’ when businesses can pick the core business process they are good at and outsource everything else.
For companies of all sizes, the process of selecting quality financial services software has replaced the process of hiring an accountant or an HR professional. This is particularly true for smaller startups that may not be able to pay a full salary but can afford a small monthly subscription fee for software.
Small Business Software
When running a small business there can be several jobs and tasks to take care of. Obviously knowing where the money is coming from and going is essential to running your business. That's why it is good to find out which small business accounting software is best for you to help you run a well organized and efficient small business.
There are hundreds to thousands of small business accounting software out there to help you with reports and tools needed to use your financial data. Depending on the one you go with will depend on how much you're going to pay for it. The more you pay, the more accessories and programs there will be that come with it. Some come with a billing and time module, various amounts of financial and management reports, and more. You can choose to get it in different editions from basic, online, pro, or premier for your computer.
If you’re anything like me then you dislike with a vengeance doing your accounts and taxes. So how can you make this process easier, less painful and cut your accountancy fees?
Buying an accounting software package is one way.
First of all you need to decide whether you are going to keep your accounting records manually, that is using pen and paper, or whether you are going to computerize the process. If you decide that computerizing the process is the way to go then you need to decide whether to buy an accounting software package, for example Sage or Quicken, or whether a spreadsheet, such as Microsoft Excel will suit your needs better.
As a general rule if you are a cash business that just needs to record income and expenditure then you are better off using a spreadsheet.
So, should you choose an accounting software package? Yes if:
- You have customers to whom you extend credit and you buy goods in the same way
- You process in excess of 50 transactions per month
- Your business is an Incorporated Company (Limited Company in the UK)
- You are computer literate or are willing to learn!
Before choosing the accounting software, speak to your accountants – they will be familiar with the various accounting software packages on the market and will be able to advise you. Most accountants use software in their office to process the bookkeeping for their clients and will have a working knowledge of the accounting software package they use. It may be cheaper for you to use the same one they do, because they can advise you how to get it up and running and will be on hand to answer questions, plus at your financial year end when your accounts need preparing it will be less expensive, believe me to have a compatible program.
Do some research yourself, you may be able to obtain a demonstration disk or download of the most popular accounting software packages and this will give you an idea of how they work and if they are user-friendly. The cost may also be an issue, so you need to decide on your budget. But consider how your business is likely to expand - you may outgrow that budget accounting software quickly and end up buying the more expensive one anyway.
Accounting software providers may also try and up-sell you a maintenance contract. Save your money! For one thing the established software providers will not have bugs in their systems. They will also try and upgrade you to the next version on a regular basis, but if the software is doing everything you need then there is no need to upgrade.
Of course, you could also pay someone to do your accounts for you, either your accountant or a bookkeeper – the payoff being you don’t have to do it yourself and it frees you up to actually run your business!
Current Best Selling Business Software
- TurboTax Deluxe Fed + E-file + State (download), Intuit
- TurboTax Deluxe Fed + E-file + State, Intuit
- Amazon Cloud Player for PC (download), Amazon Digital Services Inc.
- H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe + State, H&R Block
- Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, Microsoft
- Norton 360 - 1 User/3 Licenses, Symantec
- TurboTax Premier Fed + E-file + State, Intuit
- Norton Internet Security, Symantec
- TurboTax Home and Business Fed + E-file + State, Intuit
- Office Mac Home and Student, Microsoft
Business Shareware is proprietary software that is provided to businesses on a limited basis and usually for a clearly stated limited trial period and subject to a license which restricts any commercial benefit, use or exploitation of the software.
While there should not be an initial up front payment, the license pursuant to which the software is provided limits and restricts usage and typically restricts any distribution for commercial purposes and is often limited by any combination of functionality, availability - it may be functional for a limited time period only - or convenience; the software will present a dialog at startup or during usage, reminding the user to purchase it.
Business Shareware is often offered as a download from a website or as a offer included with a business magazine. The rationale behind shareware is clearly to give potential users the opportunity to try out the program on a limited basis for a limited time and judge its usefulness before purchasing a license for the full version of the software. It is normally supplied by software companies with superior software as they have an incentive to offer samples unless their product is already well known, or if they do not want to be listed in direct competition with other products on shareware repositories.
For too many people, the phrase “free software” conjures up images of pirated brand-name applications or poorly supported third-class programs. If that’s what you think of freeware, you’re missing an opportunity to save your business a lot of cash.
While most of your employees will be more familiar with heavily marketed commercial programs such as Microsoft Office (let’s call this class “payware”), they won’t take long to learn how to use freeware alternatives such as LibreOffice.
Although no suite matches Microsoft Office feature for feature, LibreOffice comes pretty close, offering free alternatives to Microsoft Word (Writer), Excel (Calc), and PowerPoint (Impress). These applications support standard Office file extensions too, so you won’t encounter any problems opening a Microsoft Word document with a .docx file extension or a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with an .xls file extension and converting them into LibreOffice Writer files (with the .odm file extension) and LibreOffice Calc spreadsheets (with the .ods file extension) respectively.
As with so many commercial applications that have been on the market for years on end, it’s difficult to find a perfect, free replication of the entire feature set you’ll find in Adobe’s Photoshop CS6. Having said that, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) and Paint.net are two of the best free alternatives. Each does a fairly good job of allowing you to perform basic to intermediate manipulations of photos and graphics.
Top Business Freeware
- Free PDF to Word Converter - Easy to use utility that does swift conversions from PDF to Word.
- Microsoft Office Accounting Express - A free, complete accounting solution for small businesses.
- Cash Drawer Open Program - Cash Drawer Open Program to Epson TM-88II or TM-U220 at LPT1.
- Adobe Reader - Easily view, print, and collaborate on PDF files from your desktop or on the Web.
- Simple PDF Merger - Allows you to merge multiple PDF files into one output file.
- JPEG to PDF - A free program for converting JPEG files to PDF.
- OpenOffice.org - Comprehensive Office Suite compatible with all other major office suites.
- Ultimate Calculator - Console-based calculation program.
- RGS-CardMaster - A powerful and easy to use personal address manager/phonebook.
- doPDF - Allows you to easily convert any printable document to PDF.
With blogging becoming increasingly popular, there is also an increasing need for software to simplify the process of blogging. However, there are many different software packages available which can make selecting a package seem overwhelming. Selecting a software package does not have to be difficult though. Bloggers can find websites which provide comparison charts for different software packages to simply the decision making process. These charts can save the blogger a great deal of time and effort because they compile a wealth of information into one convenient location. The blogger may still need some additional information before using these comparison charts to make a decision. The article will provide insight into some of this additional information which may be useful such as how to understand the comparison charts, methods for comparing the software packages and tips on selecting a blogging software package.
Those interested in starting or maintaining a blog should fully understand the blogging software criteria before attempting to compare software packages. Some of the criteria it is important to understand include the minimum server requirements, data storage and the post editor. Understanding these criteria is critical to the process of comparing and selecting blogging software packages.
The minimum server requirements refers to the minimum requirements for the server on which the software is to be installed. In most cases the power and speed of the server is not relevant but instead it depends on the power and speed of the software necessary for the proper operation of the blog software. There may be additional costs associated with this software as well as additional license requirements.
Data storage is also an important part of evaluating blogging software packages. This may include options such as a flat file, a data file or a database. A flat file refers to storage options in which the full page is pulled each time the blog is requested by a browser. A data file refers to situations in which the data for the blog is inserted into a template when the blog is requested by a browser. A database refers to storage options in which the necessary information is pulled from a flat file and inserted into a template when the blog is requested by a browser.
The post editor is another criterion a blogger may want to investigate carefully before selecting blogging software. The post editor refers to the type of editor which will be used to fill in the posts listed on the blog. These data entry methods may include options such as HTML or JAVA.
Bloggers who are seeking a blogging software package should carefully compare the different software packages available. This is important because obviously some software packages are superior to others. It is also important because some software packages may be better suited for the needs of a particular blog than other packages. When comparing blogging software packages it is important for the blogger to first carefully consider the needs of the blog. This is important because it will help the blogger to realize which criterion is most relevant to his particular blog.
After carefully evaluating blogging software packages, it is time for the blogger to make a decision and select one of the available packages. Ideally the blogger will have already compared important data such as storage space, server requirements and post editors. However, the blogger must also consider other factors such as cost and versatility. Many blogging software packages are available free of charge while there are some which are available for purchase. The blogger will have to decide whether or not it is worthwhile to purchase a software package or whether free software packages will meet his blogging needs.
After considering software criteria and cost, the blogger should consider viewing sample blogs created using a particular software package. This is a good idea because these samples can provide a good indication of the capabilities of the software. This is because in general the higher the quality of the samples, the greater the capabilities of the software.
A Great Business was planned that way!
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